"To me, Esalen massage, the TARA Approach and Biodanza are all invitations to relax, de-stress and experience ourselves as ever more spacious, grounded and whole."
I first heard about The TARA Approach through Stephanie Mines' presentation at the 2013 Forgiveness Conference at the Findhorn Foundation in Scotland. I started using Stephanie's book We Are All in Shock and was struck by its profound impact on my nervous system. I have since trained with Stephanie Mines and her student Anneke Stolte to certify as a TARA Approach practitioner. I have also supported Stephanie's workshops at the Findhorn Foundation from 2014 - 2017 and am an on-going student of Jin Shin Jyutsu.
In 2017, I trained with Perry and Johanna Holloman from the Esalen Institute in California, completing the 200 hour Esalen Massage certification, plus a further 50 hours of applied practice. In 2018 and 2019, I trained further in Deep Bodywork with Mika Oishi.
My own life journey has been greatly touched by the healing arts. I am a Biodanza facilitator and author of Dances with Spiders, an in-depth study of dance, trauma and well-being in southern Italy, based on my PhD in medical anthropology. In 2012, I became a member of the Findhorn Foundation and have since further expanded my research into the healing arts.
I benefit from trainings in Mentoring & Coaching, Kinesiology, EFT, Reiki, Treating trauma & trauma-informed facilitation, as well as a two year course in Energetic cellular healing and the five characterological defences as defined in Bio-energetics. On-going supervisions and continuing professional development are central to my work.
I am a member of The TARA Approach practitioners list, EMBA (Esalen Massage and Bodywork Association) and the Biodanza Association UK.
Esalen massage was inspired by the rhythms of the Pacific ocean and developed at the Esalen Institute, founded on the Californian coast in 1962.
It grew out of the work of master teachers such as Charlotte Selver (Sensory awareness), Fritz Perls (Gestalt therapy), Moshe Feldenkrais (The Feldenkrais method) and Gabrielle Roth
Long term Esalen residents and master trainers Perry and Johanna Holloman now teach the art of Esalen massage around the world.
Since 2005, they have been offering month-long certification courses
bi-annually at the Findhorn Foundation in Scotland.
The TARA Approach
Jin Shin Jyutsu was developed by Jiro Murai in Japan, as a result of his affliction by a life-threatening illness in 1912. His subsequent recovery and dedicated study allowed him to pass on this system.
In the 1940s, his student Mary Ino Burmeister overcame paralysis through learning Jin Shin Jyutsu and went on to offer treatments and trainings in the US.
Stephanie Mines became one of her long-term, dedicated students in 1975. Out of her own legacy of shock and trauma, she has developed this system further into The TARA Approach.
She also offered trainings in The TARA Approach at the Findhorn Foundation in Scotland from 2013 to 2018.
What others say:
The TARA Approach
"What beautiful 5 days of transformation these have been for me. I honour the skill, love and deep wisdom, with which you held and guided me. I have very much appreciated the honesty between us and the mutual respect for our own and each other’s feelings.
"Speaking out" and "being in my power" have been much easier since our intensive. During a dance workshop last weekend, I managed to speak in the group without being overwhelmed by nervousness and without loosing myself! Woohoo!!! I also practiced when dancing together with someone to not overstretch to the other, by staying in my centre line and seeing from this position what connection unfolded. This was liberating and there was "ease" and two people came back to me saying thank you - something had shifted for them too...
In general, I feel more balance in myself and there are also subtle changes in how I feel about my father, anger has gone and there is more balance between the male and female sides in myself. I have differentiated more from what happened between my father and mother. Undoubtedly there is still more to unfold!" – A. S.
"As my body relaxed and became 'spacious', my inner wisdom presented itself with the light I am, my inner sanctuary, my 'inner belonging'..." – S. A.
"Wow, I’m surprised I didn’t fall asleep. I felt very cared for - and like I was far, far away at the end." – L.M.
"I loved the massage. It was sensitive, gentle and as firm as needed at the same time. It felt soothing and healing. There was a sense of flow in terms of feeling and pressure, a sense of focus and consistency. It was a privilege to be at the receiving end of this kind of attention and I felt huge gratitude to you for being so caring, loving and focused. That sense of care from you made me feel I needed to do the same for myself, instead of imagining that I can treat my body any old way and that it’ll simply keep chugging along." - G.D.
"After our massage yesterday, I slept very well, much longer and deeper than usual, and today my knee feels much freer in movement and when putting my weight on it. I also feel that as much as I can do for myself, a different loving pair of hands is so much more relaxing, especially on the more knotted parts of my body, but also by being touched all around. Above all, my feet feel as new. So much tension was held there." K.W.
"I loved the stroke all the way from the foot up the side. Most massages I’ve experienced to date were done in parts: top, bottom, right, left. The work on the neck was amazing and I realized how much tension I’m carrying. It felt like I was in a kind of altered state all of the time and I could have had it go on forever." - J.C.
"This was my first Esalen massage with Karen and... I hadn't realised how much I needed it! After a gruelling year full-time caring for loved ones, I've often neglected the needs of my body and my health has been wavering. From the pre-massage to the first few flowing strokes, I felt so tenderly held. Karen responded with such sensitivity to my body and felt so 'in tune'. As the massage went deeper, I began sobbing - releasing yet more grief. I felt totally safe and nurtured by Karen's loving presence and awareness. Thank you!" – C.P.
"I am amazed at just how good it feels to have space freed up, whether it is in my joints or muscles. Just to have areas of my body opened up again! What I am really conscious of with this form of massage are the long flowing moves and the constant hands on. The connection is always there, whether through the physical hands or through the energetic connection that is created. I felt very grateful for the way you checked about the pressure you were using on different areas of my body. You also seemed to have a sense when it was enough even when I didn't specifically mention it. Thank you so much for this gorgeous massage!" S.M.